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Hermitage / Эрмитаж

In the 1980s, nearly all Soviet watches fell victim a sharp decline in quality, fit, and finish. In this era of stagnation, an overall "cheapening" of parts was evident – movements lost their decorative flourishes, materials were of poorer quality, metal-plating on watch cases grew gradually thinner, and so on. These signs of deteriorating quality continued until and through the collapse of the USSR in 1991. 

During these trying years, several watch factories began commissioning specialty dials to generate extra revenue. These were identical to standard dials, only with a custom brand applied where the usual trademark would appear. This was most common on Raketa and Vostok watches, where you can find untold number of dials bearing company logos or slogans.

The State Hermitage Museum is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Founded in 1764 and open to the public since 1852, the Hermitage is the second largest art museum in the world. In the 1980s, the museum commissioned a line of Raketa watches with the Hermitage name on the dial. These were presumably gifts for distinguished guests or awards presented to employees. There is no record of exactly when these were ordered for manufacture, and it is unlikely these watches were ever available for commercial sale.

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